Augmented reality (AR) has been on the mind of shoppers since 2019. However, the technology really took off in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the AR field, virtual try-on has been a game-changer for retail shops, particularly when it comes to online shopping. If you haven’t tried it already, we’re sure you’ve seen it around.

In this article, we’ll focus on this retail customer experience trend as well as the benefits augmented reality has brought to the table.

What is virtual try-on?

augmented reality: virtual try-on: glasses example

Virtual try-on is a simple and trending way to try on fashion items through augmented reality. It can be used to see how makeup, clothing and glasses would look on you, or even check how a piece of furniture will fit in your home. This gives potential buyers a more realistic and personalized online shopping experience. Some of the big companies currently using this technology include L’Oréal Paris, Adidas and Macy’s.

You are probably already familiar with the visual try-on technology through Instagram or Snapchat filters. You can find countless face filters (as well as animojis and characters) on these platforms, often used to improve your pictures or just have a laugh.

However, although extremely successful as a form of entertainment, virtual try-on seems to be shaping up to be the future of the retail customer experience. We’ll focus on that below, but first, let’s take a look at what augmented reality is.

What is augmented reality (AR)?

augmented reality: virtual try-on

Augmented reality is defined as “an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology.” You may remember Pokémon GO as one of the first AR hits to be launched into the market back in 2016.

Of course, augmented reality has countless uses beyond what we are discussing in this article. These include medical training, business logistics, interior design, and education.

However, although AR extends far and wide and can definitely cover more than visuals, this is the aspect more associated with the topic at hand. In the context of virtual try-on, AR makes it possible for people to interact with the products they wish to purchase, thereby improving their online customer experience. But what benefits does it bring? Is visual try-on here to stray? Let’s take on these questions below.

Is Augmented Reality the future of the retail customer experience?

augmented reality: virtual try-on retail experience

It’s no secret that online shopping is highly popular. However, there are certain items that people feel more comfortable purchasing at a shop. Enabled by AR, virtual try-on is a great resource to tackle this user pain point. And it is already doing a great job at it. Almost 70% of shoppers make a purchase when using virtual try-on technology. Moreover, shoppers are willing to pay more for products if they can try them on using augmented reality.

AR is extremely versatile and makes it possible for virtual try-on to be used for basically any fashion item. This helps shoppers make a decision and, in turn, leads to higher conversion rates and improves brand loyalty. However, we feel it’s important to point out that, the simpler the virtual try-on experience, the better, as shoppers are less likely to use it if too many steps are involved.

The fact is that augmented reality helps decrease risks for shoppers when it comes to items they are not sure will fit or look good on them if purchased online. It is also a great cross-sales strategy and reduces the number of product returns.

As we’ve mentioned, a lot of this technology was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are sure it will continue to be useful once we have managed to move past it. Augmented reality does not only make online shopping easier and more personalized, it also grants users access to special online offers or items that may not be available in their local shops .

Final thoughts on Virtual try-on

Augmented reality is already quite strong when it comes to the retail customer experience. If well executed, virtual try-on is extremely convenient and practical when it comes to online shopping, especially when looking at clothing items or items outside of your geographical area.

Given all of its benefits, we believe AR in the retail customer experience is here to stay.